Johnson has no regrets about public nature of trade talks
Magic Johnson has no regrets about the public nature of his conversations with New Orleans Pelicans general manager Dell Demps during the past two weeks, as the Los Angeles Lakers tried to trade for Anthony Davis. Johnson believes his players are professional enough to handle hearing their names in trade rumors.
“Quit making this about thinking these guys are babies, because that’s what you’re treating them like,” said Johnson, the Lakers’ president of basketball operations. “They’re professionals. All of them. This is how this league works. They know it, I know it. That’s how it goes. So we gotta move forward, and we are moving forward. They played outstanding against Boston, give them credit. We need to play well and move on.”
Johnson was asked if he thought the negotiation with New Orleans was a good faith negotiation.
“No,” Johnson said. “We knew that basically at the end of the day what happened happened. And we knew that when we first started. In terms of what happened. But hey, it is what it is.”
The Lakers reached out to the Pelicans after Davis’ agent, Rich Paul, told reporters on Jan. 28 that his client had requested a trade. Johnson spoke with Demps the next day, and sent a series of offers to the Pelicans on Jan. 30.
While they spoke several times for the next week, Demps never told Johnson what he wanted in return.
Around the rims
• Rookie sensation Luka Doncic is gaining the reputation as one of the league’s best clutch performers and he did it again Sunday with 28 points, five coming in the decisive final 2:27 to give Dallas a 102-101 comeback win against visiting Portland. Doncic scored 13 points in the fourth quarter, a stanza in which Dallas trailed 96-81 with 10:43 to go in the game. Portland built that lead on Damian Lillard’s incredible 21-point third quarter, all of which came in the final 5:19 of the quarter after Dallas came back from a 10-point halftime deficit to tie the game at 67.
• Joel Embiid scored 37 points and grabbed 14 rebounds to lead host Philadelphia to a 143-120 victory against the Lakers. It was the 23rd game for Embiid this season with at least 30 points and 10 rebounds, the most such games by any Philadelphia player since Charles Barkley had 27 in 1987-88.
• Rookie Marvin Bagley III scored a career-high 32 points as host Sacramento coasted to a 117-104 victory over reeling Phoenix. Bagley shot 10 of 15 from the field and 11 of 13 from the free-throw line to eclipse his previous high of 24 points.